Today I had a talk with Mrs. Myra Brown (no relation to Chris Brown), speaker from U.S. Embassy on one of @america’s event. The talk was kinda random, so there wasn’t really any conclusion from that. But that’s not what I’m gonna write now.
During the discussion, there’s one statement that I actually disagree, but also agree at the same time:
“Superstition holds us back.”
Well okay, we were talking about Robert Johnson and the mumbo-jumbo about occultism (Hoodoo, to be precise) behind his death. I was curious and ask about it because I thought occultism tied firmly with the culture of a society, thus might give another point of view about the society itself because in every culture we have occultism. Shaman, Druid, Witch Doctor, Oracle, you name it.
The talk between me and her kinda derailed after that, because “spiritualism” vs “science” always derail any kind of discussion. Like I do right now with my writing, so let’s go back to the subject.
Do(es) superstition(s) really hold us back? The answer is yes and no. Why is that? It depends on where do you put the superstitions at.
Let’s put it this way;
Robert Johnson is dead. His song, Crossroad and Hellhound on My Trail give clue about the occultism, but rumour also said that he’s been poisoned because he slept with someone’s wife (wives make much more sense, btw. He’s the first rockstar anyway).
In superstitious point of view:
“He’s being killed because he made a pledge with the devil on the crossroad in exchange of the whole popularity.”
In non-superstitious point of view:
“He slept with someone’s wife. Duh.”
Okay, the language is kinda cynical, but you get my drift.
My problem with these statement is: they both conclude. Yes, both of them give conclusion and use their belief as the base for it.
Let’s use another example. This isn’t exactly apple-to-apple, but what the hey~
Religious point of view:
“God exist because the Holy Books said so and I believe that.”
(Yes, I put “superstitious” and “religious” in the same equation, sue me.)
“God don’t exist because there’s no scientifical proof that He exists.”
Same problem; conclusion. Religions (superstition, and all that jazz) are basically philosophical. And what are the base of philosophy?
The deeper you learn about religion, the more questions you get. Is God an entitiy with his own mind or the whole universe by itself? Is He a “he” or a “she”? If He exist and all-loving, why do we still suffer?
When you question, not merely believing it, you’ll learn more about your belief and broaden your mind.
Same apply to science. When you conclude that: “God is not scientifical, period,” you actually being non-scientifical.
Why? Because when you conclude that something don’t exist because there’s no proof, at the same time you also don’t put any proof that He don’t exist.
See the loophole here? To say something true/false, you need to give hard, unbiased evidence that’s more than just a theory. Even the Big Bang Theory explanation started with: “Scientists believe that…” as make sense as it is, it’s still a theory.
The skeptical scientists have conducted experiments to prove there’s “no afterlife” and along the way, they created many unrelated discovery that, though not related to the “afterlife” question, benefit the humanity in one way or another.
On the flip side, the superstitious scientists (yes, they exist) try to prove the existence of the “afterlife” and “spiritual being” and the rest of the story went like the previous one.
Okay, maybe not as useful, but it’s still something new.
And not to mention, the fear of “higher being” also build the base of the modern day humanity. The fear on karma/sin is actually the very primitive concept of law; the philosophy of “you sow what you seed”.
The writing has gone way much more broad than I thought it would be, so let’s put the conclusion from me.
It’s not “superstition” or any kind of belief that hold us back, it’s how you use it. When you use any kind of belief (including scientifical) as a Deus Ex Machina, you close the door to any kind of argument that *might* broaden your view and give answer to the question. Don’t make it as a dogma; because no matter what, dogma is a period, full stop, that make you stuck and not moving forward.
Don’t make your belief the answer, make it the question. Make it as healthy pre-assumption, as a base of your search of an “answer”.
I mean hey, I’m a creationist that also believe in evolution. I believe God exist, but I also believe that Darwin was right. It’s possible to have a belief and being scientifical, but I think I should save this for another time.
…or in some sense maybe the “Devil on the Crossroad” is Robert Johnson’s promoter and the “Hellhound on My Trail” is the promoter’s henchman and everything is a metaphor. It’s plausible~
And it’ll be interesting to search whether this “Crossroad Blues” have any relation to “Rock and Roll is the Devil’s music” stereotype. It also make sense, seeing how a stigma can put fear to certain kind of people on the certain kind of culture. Connecting the music, where it came from, and how it affect the fear of the stuck-up society back then. I need more data, though.
…I better end this before I get even more derailed. It’s almost midnight anyway.